Madden Super Bowl prediction 2020: Can video game correct recent history with Super Bowl 54?

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    EA Sports’ “Madden NFL” franchise has long been recognized for its above-average accuracy in predicting Super Bowl results.

    Going back to 2004, “Madden” is 10 for 16 in picking a Super Bowl winner, although it has slipped in recent years after an astonishing early run (it has been wrong three out of the last four years). Still impressive is the fact that on multiple occasions the game has predicted the precise margin of victory or even the exact final score.

    A trend has become evident, however, which must be considered when looking ahead to Super Bowl 54. The video game’s simulation engine favors great offense over great defense, leading to its wildly inaccurate official prediction of Rams 30, Patriots 27.

    In reality, the final score was 13-3 in favor of the Patriots, the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.

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    In 2019, 72 percent of simulations had the Rams beating the Patriots. To the credit of “Madden,” the percentages were heavily weighted toward the Rams when they scored 30+ points as opposed to when they failed to do so. They often surpassed that mark in the simulation but scored only three points in reality.

    Another glaring miss occurred with Super Bowl 48 when “Madden” believed the historically great offense of the Broncos would prevail over the historically great defense of the Seahawks. The latter ended up winning, 43-8.

    Madden Super Bowl prediction 2020

    Keeping those trends in mind, it is no surprise that the Chiefs are heavy favorites over the 49ers, according to “Madden NFL 20.” We ran more than 100 simulations, with the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl 68 percent of the time. While Kansas City is the slight betting favorite, indicating a 54 percent chance of victory, “Madden” gives the Chiefs a much larger edge over San Francisco.

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    There are other flaws to consider in the simulations. The engine does not do a good job of representing any type of strategic game plan.

    The 49ers had great success on the ground in some of the sims, but passed heavily in others. Without any real splitting of running back carries, Raheem Mostert barely even saw the field. “Madden” isn’t going to run the ball all game like San Francisco did in the NFC championship game even if that would prove to be the most effective tactic. That puts them at another disadvantage within the video game. 

    It would not be a surprise to see the 49ers prevail and again expose Madden’s bias toward offense. The target for San Francisco should be to hold the Chiefs to 24 points or less. The 49ers won 59 percent of the games in which they did just that. When Kansas City went over 24, that number drops to just 12 percent.

    The keys to success for each team are true to the formulas that got them to the Super Bowl. The 49ers did better when they dominated on the ground and when the defense produced more sacks and turnovers. The Chiefs offense would often jump out to early leads and use big plays on both offense and defense to stomp out any chance of a comeback.

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    Madden projects Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill are the most likely to win the game’s MVP award. Should the 49ers come out on top, it’ll be Jimmy Garoppolo or Nick Bosa. 

    “Madden NFL 20” composite prediction: Chiefs 26, 49ers 22

    Madden Super Bowl predictions history

    The “Madden NFL” franchise has given an official prediction for the Super Bowl every year since 2004. The video game has picked the correct winner 10 times in 16 years, with a perfect prediction for Super Bowl 49. That’s a 62.5 percent success rate.

    YearMadden predictionActual scoreCorrect winner?
    Super Bowl 53Rams 30, Patriots 27Patriots 13, Rams 3No
    Super Bowl 52Patriots 24, Eagles 20Eagles 41, Patriots 33No
    Super Bowl 51Patriots 27, Falcons 24Patriots 34, Falcons 28Yes
    Super Bowl 50Panthers 24, Broncos 20Broncos 24, Panthers 10No
    Super Bowl 49Patriots 28, Seahawks 24Patriots 28, Seahawks 24Perfect
    Super Bowl 48Broncos 31, Seahawks 28Seahawks 43, Broncos 8No
    Super Bowl 47Ravens 27, 49ers 24Ravens 34, 49ers 31Yes
    Super Bowl 46Giants 27, Patriots 24Giants 21, Patriots 17Yes
    Super Bowl 45Steelers 24, Packers 20Packers 31, Steelers 25No
    Super Bowl 44Saints 35, Colts 31Saints 31, Colts 17Yes
    Super Bowl 43Steelers 28, Cardinals 24Steelers 27, Cardinals 23Yes
    Super Bowl 42Patriots 38, Giants 30Giants 17, Patriots 14No
    Super Bowl 41Colts 38, Bears 27Colts 29, Bears 17Yes
    Super Bowl 40Steelers 24, Seahawks 19Steelers 21, Seahawks 10Yes
    Super Bowl 39Patriots 47, Eagles 31Patriots 24, Eagles 21Yes
    Super Bowl 38Patriots 23, Panthers 20Patriots 32, Panthers 29Yes

    Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, hosts the Press Row Podcast and can be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.